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Monday, October 08, 2007

Can We Get Back to Basics?

There comes a point when people take things way to seriously, introducing wave after wave of complexity where simplicity should be the focus. Moreover, individuals and organizations begin to take the teachings, writings, or advice of someone or some entity and add upon it all KINDS of rules and regulations. Who are they to do such a thing? Especially when these kinds of additions begin to deviate from the core idea, that which is basic, and transform the focus to something altogether antithetical. Let us take, for instance, the current gripe the Church of England has with Insomniac Games/Sony.

Matt Peckham reports in his blog entry for Game On that the Church of England is calling for the removal of Insomniac's game, Resistance: Fall of Man, from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' (BAFTA) video game award shortlist. Read Peckham's piece to get a back story, and also checkout this Wikipedia entry for even more background about the game itself and the ensuing real world battle royale between Sony and the Church. In summary though, the controversy is over a major gun battle taking place between human soldiers and the alien invaders inside of a virtual representation of the Manchester Cathedral within the game. The Church is irate about the bloodbath depicted and the desecration that results. I am concerned less with legal and more with something deeper.

So what does all this have to do with getting back to the basics? Simple, is the Church more concerned with the building itself or the potential destructive power that such a depiction might have on the relationship of a person and his/her God? If it is the former, then the Church itself has a much bigger problem to contend with - has the building become its idol? If it is the latter, then the Church still has a major problem to contend with, just not as big. That problem? Members whose strength of faith rests on a physical inanimate building rather than the level and depth of relationship he or she has with God.

The question here is motive, plain and simple.

Jesus Christ laid the smack down on the Pharisees of old who put the law, especially the hundreds of additions to the original Mosaic law, above the only real command of Love. That's right, two laws encompass everything that is everything: Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor. Where any other law or tradition violates these two, love is the path taken, not the law. Peep Mark 3:1-6 in the Bible to catch a glimpse of this in action.

Is the Church's motive love or other? Is the building holding a higher place of honor in the Church's minds and hearts than God himself? Has this building become an idol? If the answer to these questions point away from God, then I bet God would rather the building destroyed in reality for this building is causing the people to stumble ( peep Mark 9:42-47 spoken in extreme ). God is concerned more with the relationship people cultivate with Him than with any physical item or organization. Because if that relationship is strong, then that individual will take on the mind and character of God. And when that happens, this individual will have Life in abundance, and will interact with his or her fellow men and women in such ways that will bless all in overflowing capacity. A building cannot teach you that.

We need to get back to the basics. We need to get back to the core of what Christ taught. If something else takes the place of love, developing a strong relationship with Pops (God), and basing the strength of our faith on that, it must be ousted for it will only lead to our destruction. God is a creator, not a destroyer. So why should we waste our time on things that will only bring us ruin and destruction?

It is my hope that the Church has already investigated such things and are walking the walk. If the Church's motive is thus pure, and the building is not an idol clouding sound judgment, then I endorse its investigation into the matter at hand. More specifically, I endorse its investigation into the MOTIVE behind Insomniac's inclusion of such a scene.

If Insomniac's goal was to defame and desecrate the image of the church, and more specifically the being that is God, then I say "bring da ruckus!" That kind of motive is entirely evil, selfish, and destructive and thus deserving of repercussions. It shows no respect. But you know what? If that were the motive, I wouldn't worry much about the come uppins Insomniac/Sony could receive at the hands of men (even though it could be devastating). I'd worry more about the come uppins the decision makers would receive when they face God himself (I would not wish that on anybody!).

In the end, it is just a building. I mean, the White House was blown up in the movies Independence Day and Transformers, the former in replica reality and the latter with.... I won't say... I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen the film. What's important is the motive and the ideas behind these acts, the people they may or may not hurt, and the unforeseen repercussions it, and any reactions, may have on lives going forward.

No matter what or in whom you believe, spread love people. Spread love.